December and January marked a shift in the conflict, which entered a more dynamic phase as infighting between factions on both of the warring sides led to a partial breakthrough in the deadlock that had characterised most of the previous year. Intensive, though short-lived, fighting broke out in the capital, Sana’a city, causing a realignment of the political alliances, and sparking renewed fighting on several fronts,including the launch of a military offensive in southern Al-Hudaydah.
As a result, the civilian impact incidents in December and January were high:
322 incidents with a civilian impact recorded over the 2 months in the 5 target governorates.
Civilian impact incidents were caused by seven different types of armed violence. The vast majority of incidents in the reporting period were the result of airstrikes, 237 of the 322 incidents (74%), followed by shelling (16%), armed clashes (4%), SAF (3%), UXO (2%),IED (1%), and deployment (1%). This was the case across all governorates, with airstrikes the primary cause of civilian impact incidents in all five target locations.
This resulted in a total of 817 civilian casualties: 507 fatalities, including 60 children and 32 women killed, and 310 people injured,of which 31 were children and 11 women.
The highest number of incidents were in Sa’ada (144), which saw more than twice as many as the next highest governorate,AlHudaydah (64),despite not being an active front in the conflict.
However, despite seeing half as many incidents as Sa'ada,there were 284 civilian casualties in Al-Hudaydah over the reporting period,the highest number of the five target governorates.
Airstrikes were by far the deadliest type of armed violence over the reporting period, accounting for 90% of all civilian casualties (755 casualties), including 97% of fatalities (490 of 507 deaths) and 78% of injuries (243 of 310 injured civilians).
Overall, most civilian casualties during the two months occurred when civilians were hit by armed violence inside their homes, in their vehicles and in markets. Mass civilian casualties also occurred when locations with many civilians gathered in one place were targeted by armed violence, including prison, IDP settlement and civilian gatherings such as wedding, funeral and demonstration.
Houses and farms were the most frequently impacted civilian structures,with more than 310 houses and 76 farms damaged, as well as 173 households comprising both houses and farms.
This was followed by civilian infrastructure, with 38 civilian infrastructural sites being damaged, ranging from local governmental offices to ports, airports, roads, bridges and telecommunication infrastructure. And, civilian vehicles, 33 of which were targeted in the reporting period, mainly in Sa’ada and Al-Hudaydah.
The direct implications of these incidents saw more than 1,268 households displaced, 63% of which were in Al-Hudaydah as a result of the outbreak of fighting in the south of the governorate.714 households also suffered a loss of livelihood.
Indirectly, the protection implications of the violence resulted in more than 1 million households experiencing restricted access to infrastructure and almost 500,000 having limited access to basic services, including healthcare and education.